This is a Coalport teacup and saucer with sublimely hand painted birds from the hand of John Randall. The set was made in April 1868, which can be seen from the impressed date code at the bottom of the saucer.


Coalport was one of the leading potters in 19th and 20th Century Staffordshire, coming out with many innovative designs. Many of their items are now collectors' items and this is certainly the case for items decorated by John Randall, the famous bird painter.


Randall joined Coalport in 1835 at the age of 25 and remained their main painter of birds until he was 70 years of age. After training at the French Sevres factory he brought the refined French style of bird painting to Coalport and kept developing this throughout his long career. This tea set is in a distinctly mid-Victorian style but keeps the freshness and refinement of the Sevres style; this causes these cups to often be confused with Minton, which attracted many good painters from Sevres. But closer research caused me to realise this cup is indeed Coalport.


The set is decorated with five unique and extremely beautiful, life-like birds: some are domestic English birds such as the beautiful dark osprey, but some are tropical such as the little green hummingbird sucking honey out of a pink flower. What is typical of Randall's later paintings is the very slight background setting, in this case half-painted almost transparent foliage of the branches the birds are sitting on, and the very lively feathers and sense of depth created by the use of strongly contrasting colours on the feathers in the foreground.


The set is further decorated with some very fine gilding with typically mid-Victorian ribbons, some of which are unfortunately rubbed off on the saucer - but this means the set has been loved for many years!


CONDITION REPORT This set is in excellent condition with no damage or crazing and only some rubbing to the gilt, which is quite heavy on the saucer but almost untouched on the cup. The bird paintings are in perfect condition.


The items are unmarked except a date code for April 1868 that is impressed at the bottom of the saucer.


Please note that all items in my shop are of vintage or antique condition. They have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear. I will reflect any damage, repairs or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks and stains can be normal for vintage items and need to be taken into account.


There is widespread confusion on the internet about the difference between chips and nicks, or hairlines and cracks. I will reflect any damage as truthfully as I can, i.e. a nick is a tiny bit of damage smaller than 1mm and a chip is something you can see with the eye; a hairline runs over the surface glazing but not the body of the item and a crack runs through the body of the item, usually weakening its structure. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!


DIMENSIONS (diameters) cup 7.7cm (3"), saucer 14cm (5.5").


SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK, mostly by Royal Mail 2nd Class for the UK and International Tracked and Signed for the rest of the world. I am happy to combine shipping charges on multiple items - please contact me to discuss. In principle I do not make a profit on shipping although for simplicity's sake I charge flat shipping fees. If the fee charged greatly exceeds the actual cost I will gladly refund you the difference - at the same time if it is slightly lower I will gladly make up the difference. In some countries shipping will end up significantly more than the expected fees and I will contact you to discuss our options. PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING SHIPPING COSTS AND OPTIONS.

Rare teacup, birds painted by John Randall, Coalport 1868

  • Your item will be shipped after receipt of funds, unless agreed otherwise in writing. 


    We will ship your items within a maximum of 2 working days after payment (usually quicker). We cannot be held responsible for delivery times once the item has been shipped as this is at the shipper's discretion and, in case of international delivery, can be subject to customs delays, weather, holidays and/or political instability.


    If your delivery failed to appear or was damaged in transit, please let us know as soon as possible and, in case of damage, provide us with pictures of the damaged item and/or packaging. Cut off dates for this are 14 days after shipping, or 2 days after a damaged delivery. We will need to comply with shippers' regulations in order to follow up the issue, but it is vital that you let us know what is wrong as soon as possible. We will do anything we can to follow up faulty deliveries but cannot be held responsible if we have not been notified within the required time period. 


    We always aim to have happy customers so if you have an issue with or questions about your item, please contact us and we will do anything we can to resolve the issue with you! 

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    We always aim to have happy customers so if you have an issue with or questions about your item, please contact us and we will do anything we can to resolve the issue with you! 

© 2020 by Gentle Rattle of China, London UK  

copyright on all images and text

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